An empowered woman

I am not “an empowered woman”.

I did not see an empowered woman, but a caricature of women, said that TERF. I plead guilty.

There I was in the local Quaker business meeting, thinking, how can I serve these people? I have an idea that we are not using the Quaker business method properly, and what using it would mean; and it feels to me that this is where we are and we need to find our own way out of it, by an organic growth process, and it is not for me to guide or force that process. Let it be: I am having difficulty tolerating uncertainty, but I trust the process. We started talking about conscription. One of us was conscripted as a Bevan Boy rather than to the armed forces. One said that at a Quaker school, the headteacher would write a statement which would mean that his pupils would not be conscripted for National Service. The Armed Forces did not want them anyway, did not have anything to do with them, and knew conscription would soon end. This was not the business before us, but it is where we are.

I expressed my distress. I do not know how to serve you, but I do not think this is proper business method. I have been criticised for pushing business through too quickly. We have not done much in an hour. One said that fifty years ago a local business meeting could take ten minutes. The chatting is pleasant, interesting, easy, I suppose.

My friend appreciated how I had served the meeting this afternoon, and I was so grateful she said it.

If you have had a woman’s conditioning, been taught not to express anger or leadership, and have not done so because of outside threat or even internalised the controls, and then liberated yourself, and felt the disapproval of others for your righteous anger- you may indeed resent me who seems without such conditioning. There is a huge male privilege. That has not been my struggle. I have struggled to find who I am, and find it valuable rather than weak, sick and delusional, but that is so different. And I can express anger sometimes.

Yet when I have expressed anger, rather than felt it gnaw at me, it has been in defence of others or of the group.

As British society has got steadily more fragmented, unequal and competitive over the last 37 years, ambition and aggression become more necessary and valued. That is not me.

That moment- the TERF saw a “ridiculous, little girl pose”- a parody of everything she did not want to be-

the trans woman became a symbol for her of her oppression. Her struggle towards empowerment was away from that.

I can imagine myself in “little girl pose”, either as in experimenting, finding what felt right, or expressing a part of myself, or even being most me.

In my weakness is my strength. I am that girly caricature, and when in shame I try to hide it I fight myself to a standstill. My empowerment expresses itself completely differently from hers. If only she could see beyond that.

Caravaggio, the cardsharps

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